Apple’s iPhone 14 launch event is just weeks away, and it’s expected to showcase a range of new devices — not just a new iPhone. We’re also on the lookout for three (yes, we said three) new Apple Watch models and even a refreshed pair of AirPods Pro earbuds.
Apple’s holding a small in-person event at its Apple Park campus and will stream the show online, similar to what it did with WWDC in June. Here’s what we might see at Apple’s hardware-heavy event, which is slated for September 7th, 2022 at 1:00PM ET.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max get some major upgrades
Apple will, of course, reveal the brand new iPhone 14 in September, but the standard model likely won’t be the star of the show. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are expected to carry the bulk of the new and exciting features.
There are three big features expected in the 14 Pro and Pro Max: an always-on display (a feature Android phones have had for years); a 48-megapixel rear camera with a larger sensor; and a screen that gets rid of the notch in favor of smaller camera cutouts. The phone should also get an upgraded A16 processing chip. It’s an impressive list of features that Apple may use to justify a rumored price hike.
However, it doesn’t seem like the standard version of the iPhone 14 will come with many major changes. The biggest update to the non-Pro model is expected to be the introduction of a larger 6.7-inch display option. Previous rumors from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicate that the iPhone 14 (plus the Pro and Pro Max) may also have a better selfie camera that uses autofocus. Performance-wise, the base iPhone 14 will likely use the same A15 processor used in the iPhone 13 series.
And if you’re a small phone lover, I’m sorry to say that a new Mini likely won’t make an appearance this year.
Only two Pro models would upgrade to the A16 processor, while the 14 & 14 Max will remain the A15. All four new models will likely come with 6GB RAM, with the difference being LPDDR 5 (14 Pro & 14 Pro Max) vs. LPDDR 4X (14 & 14 Max). https://t.co/tHcszIz6gX
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) March 13, 2022
New Apple Watch models: Series 8, SE, and “Pro”
Apple’s gearing up to launch three new Apple Watch models: the Watch Series 8; a refreshed SE; and a new rugged “Pro” model designed for athletes who partake in extreme sports.
Let’s start with the Series 8. According to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, the next-gen watch will come equipped with a new S8 chip, but it won’t offer a notable performance upgrade over the S7 and S6 chips. While Apple isn’t expected to include a way to monitor your blood pressure just yet, it may come with a temperature sensor that will detect if you have a fever.
Meanwhile, the new Apple Watch SE is expected to replace the budget Watch Series 3. It will likely come with the same S8 chip, an upgrade over the S5 chip the 2020 SE model uses. Other than that, it doesn’t look like any other huge changes are in store — it’s expected to retain the same display size as the current SE.
As for the rumored rugged Apple Watch “Pro,” Gurman believes it could come with a larger “nearly 2-inch display” that’s “more shatter-resistant.” It may also sport a “strong metal” case instead of a rubberized exterior that was hinted at previously. But don’t expect this watch to be cheap — Gurman expects it to cost anywhere from $900 to $999.
The next generation of the AirPods Pro
The AirPods Pro haven’t received an update since their initial launch in 2019. Now, nearly three years later, we may finally see the release of the AirPods Pro 2.
First off, expect them to look different. The new AirPods Pro may resemble the Beats Fit Pro, potentially with an in-ear wing tip design that drops the stem. They could also have a focus on fitness tracking thanks to the potential for upgraded motion sensors.
Kuo also hinted at the possibility of the AirPods Pro supporting lossless audio, allowing for higher-quality sound. This would also make the AirPods Pro 2 the first model to use the Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) — even the high-end AirPods Max don’t support it. If the AirPods Pro 2 do end up supporting the Apple Lossless Audio Codec, it’ll be interesting to see how Apple manages to get around the limitations of Bluetooth, which generally requires compressing audio quality.
The AirPods Pro 2 charging case may also get an upgrade. It may come with a small speaker that makes a sound when you try to locate it via the Find My app. Only the AirPods themselves make a sound right now, and adding the capability to the case could come in handy if it ever gets separated from your AirPods.
We may get iOS 16 and watchOS 9 launch dates
We first heard about iOS 16 when Apple announced it in June, and we have a pretty good idea of what to expect based on what we’ve seen from the public beta. Gurman says Apple wrapped up development last week, and the company is likely to launch a finalized version of iOS 16 within about a week of its iPhone 14 event.
iOS 16 brings a number of new features, including the ability to edit and unsend messages as well as a customizable lock screen. It also introduces repositioned notifications that appear at the bottom of your lock screen and a Live Activities lock screen widget that provides updates on real-time events, such as sports scores or food delivery progress. Oh yeah, and battery percentage is back… but not in the way you might expect (or like).
In addition to iOS 16, Apple could also launch watchOS 9 alongside its three new smartwatches. The watchOS 9 beta has been out for a couple of months now, and it’s set to bring quite a few improvements to the Apple Watch. This includes new running metrics, medication reminders, sleep stage tracking, passive AFib monitoring, and enhanced watchface customization.
Is that all?
It looks like this is it for this particular Apple event, but luckily, we shouldn’t have to wait much longer for another round of new Apple products. Apple’s expected to return to its old pre-pandemic schedule of holding an iPhone event in September and then a separate event in October to showcase its new iPads and Macs.
That’s when we can expect a new M2-equipped iPad Pro as well as an entry-level iPad with the A14 chip. Apple’s also rumored to release three new Macs, including a Mac Mini, Mac Pro, and MacBook Pro, all with Apple’s M2 chip. iPadOS and macOS Ventura will likely arrive around this time as well.
We’re still waiting for Apple’s long-rumored mixed reality headset, too, and it would be kind of a long shot to expect the company to show it off this year. It looks like Apple is making some progress, though. Its board of directors reportedly got to test out the device earlier this year, but Kuo predicts the device won’t launch until January 2023.
Update August 24th, 12:05PM ET: Updated to confirm that Apple’s event is happening on September 7th.